Ian Bourland

  • picks October 05, 2009

    Chris Ofili

    British painter Chris Ofili is known for his chromatically bold and texturally dense pictures of lovers, spirits, and monkeys, which are usually supported by spheres of elephant dung. Ofili’s recent works, however, have moved beyond his familiar pop-cultural pastiche and base materiality. “Afro Margin,” a suite of eight pencil drawings made between 2004 and 2007, marks this transition and reveals an unexpected delicacy and rigor in his process.

    Ofili began each drawing with the same bounding principle, an organic yet rigid colonnade of the “Afro heads” that appear as aboriginal constellations in

  • picks September 28, 2009

    “The Austerity Cookbook”

    Given recent emphasis on immersive and site-specific installation, it is easy to write off many new works as gimmicky. Nonetheless, “The Austerity Cookbook,” at Minneapolis’s Soap Factory, uses these conceits to stirring effect. The space, a sort of steampunk fun house, is in many ways the star of the show.

    The Soap Factory’s massive volumes retain the patina of age and provide airy tableaux for incipient practices. The exhibition began with an invitation to emerging artists to arrive with a receptiveness to the raw and unheated environment. As a result, the finished pieces do not feel grafted